Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Know Your Monster: 3

BARAGON

Baragon looks cute, with big, floppy bat ears. But do not underestimate his powers! He apparently was spawned somewhere near a raging volcano, as he can fire a deadly heat ray from his mouth. It’s akin to Godzilla’s spiral ray, although not as overwhelming.

Baragon is smaller than other Japanese movie monsters, but can’t be budged when he’s lodged squarely on all four legs. When he stands upright on two legs, watch how quick and agile he becomes. He can leap like a rabbit and, upon landing, has been known to touch off earthquakes. Another distinguishing trait: The Rhino horn protruding from his head, allowing him to burrow into the Earth and release magma. His name is derived from the Japanese words for rose  (“bara”) and shape (“gon”), presumably a reference to a petal-shaped plate on its back.

Baragon first arose from the bowels of the planet in Frankenstein Vs. Baragon, a 1965 film also sometimes known as Frankenstein Conquers the World. He resurfaced in Destroy All Monsters (1968), penned up with Godzilla and all of the other terrors on Monster Island. After falling under the mind control of aliens, he’s dispatched to attack Paris and demolish the Arc de Triumph by digging below ground and weakening its foundation. More recently, Baragon made a guest appearance in a Pokemon cartoon.

Here’s the original Japanese trailer for Frankenstein Vs. Baragon. There’s a minute and a half of buildup before Baragon begins to unleash his fury. The English-speaking actor, by the way, is Nick Adams, who you’ll remember as Johnny Yuma from the TV Western “The Rebel” — that is, if you were around in the 1960s.

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Tomorrow: Biollante

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